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Mixed or same-sex high schools in China?

Popularity 11Viewed 12506 times 2015-8-28 12:58 |System category:News| schools, China

I’ve seen quite a few posts on the system of education here in China and abroad following the now infamous Bohunt experiment in the UK. It is out of curiosity that I ask this question. I haven’t yet come across any single or same-sex high school in China, but I’m certain there might be few- considering the high number of private schools springing up and being modeled after Western style education. 

My question is directed specifically at Chinese contributors here on this forum. Opinions from foreign contributors are also welcome. Mixed or same-sex high schools- which would you prefer for your child? I’m posing this question bearing in mind that your son or daughter might have already been through the mixed system in primary school and would repeat that in college or university. Would you want your child to have the same experience as the majority of students who attend mixed-sex high schools or experience that assumed highly disciplined seclusion and top quality tuition in a same-sex high school?  

I attended a same-sex high school, a Catholic school to be precise and the assumption is that- students receive better tuition, are more disciplined and toughened up to face the challenges or difficulties in life better than their counterparts in mixed-schools. I beg to differ. From my experience I disagree with that assumption, I think the same-sex system has a lot of disadvantages that far outweighs its advantages and therefore the mixed-sex system is better and a good choice for students preparing to face the real world- considering the fact that this is the period where kids form a lot of their opinions about their environment and the world we live in. 

Then again I disagree with the single or same-sex education because it robs the child from communal associations and mixed-group work or interactions. In the end most girls for example come out of high school with only girls as friends and boys vice versa. A lot of research has been done on that and there have been extreme conclusions which opine that it even breeds same-sex marriages in future.   

I do however support the argument that problems in the real world involve both genders in coming out with solutions. My point here being- for example, China’s one-child policy does not suit single or same-sex education, therefore, for guardians to send their children to same-sex high schools equates to denying that child the opportunity to associate with the opposite sex- another form of robbery- the first being- huh. Don’t get it twisted; I support the one-child policy. It has its pros and cons. It has served its purpose hence the recent changes in policy. 

The argument that if the child would get a better education in a same-sex high school then why not holds a lot of water. It can’t be easily dismissed. Chinese parents from my observation care more about the quality of education that their child receives than their ability to engage in interpersonal communication which in my opinion isn’t right.  

At that formative stage interpersonal communication is of utmost important, they should be allowed to mingle and interact with each other. They ought to build that confidence at speaking frankly to the opposite sex early in life than later- they should be given the opportunity to know the thinking or mindset of the opposite sex. Additionally, extensive research in the study of educational psychology has proven that girls perform better than boys at that formative stage when put together but that should not be the basis to separate the two.  

I do agree that quality high school or pre-college education is of utmost importance but in the real world it often amounts to nothing in the work place where you have to deal with  a different gender, age and even race. It is a truism that the same quality tuition associated with same-sex schools can’t be fully achieved in a mixed-sex high school environment but is that the sole reason for education? I doubt.  

Education should not only make us best test-takers or equip us with a skill or profession but also make us better men and women to fit in a real human society, so if you’re thinking of forking out hundreds of thousands of Yuan to send your child to a private single or same-sex school- think again. It is not really worth it- who says? I say so.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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